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Eatontown Personal Injury Law Blog

Male breast cancer patients see lower survival rates than women

Though rare, breast cancer does occur in men. Residents of New Jersey should know that it is, in fact, on the rise with some 1.21 per 100,000 men in the U.S. suffering from it in 2016 (compared to 0.85 per 100,000 men in 1975). Even more unfortunate is that male breast cancer patients tend to experience lower survival rates than women do.

A study published in JAMA Oncology has found that this trend holds even when factors like clinical predictors and socioeconomic status were taken into account. One reason for this disparity is the difference in treatments. For instance, many of the male patients who can benefit from endocrine therapy do not receive it.

Road rage linked to more car crashes

Many New Jersey motorists are concerned about the threat that road rage can pose. People have lost their lives in road rage incidents, especially when guns are involved. There were 247 incidents around the country of drivers brandishing guns in 2014, and that number rose to 620 in 2016. In the first half of 2017, there were 325 such incidents, pointing towards a new high. In some cases, raging drivers use their cars as weapons, running over or hitting people they believe have wronged them.

Deadly car accidents linked to rage on the road or aggressive driving rose dramatically for the periods in which statistics are available. In 2006, only 80 fatal crashes were connected to aggression, but there were 467 related collisions by 2015, reports the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Around 80% of drivers responding to one American Automobile Association survey said that they had somehow expressed aggression while behind the wheel. Some of the most common types were relatively mild - 45% said they honked horns in anger, 47% yelled and 33% used obscene gestures. However, a surprising 51% admitted to tailgating deliberately, a driving behavior that can lead to serious accidents.

Deaths from red light running crashes rise

More and more people in New Jersey and across the U.S. are dying at the hands of drivers who run red lights. Red light running crashes led to 939 deaths in 2017, which the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety says is the highest the number has been in 10 years. Approximately 46% of the victims were drivers or passengers in the other vehicle while 35% of those killed were the offending drivers.

The AAA Foundation has a Traffic Safety Culture Index out showing how more than two in five drivers believe it is unlikely to be caught by the police for running a red light. Since police cannot be everywhere, it is important, then, that local governments integrate red light cameras in their traffic safety programs. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has stated that cameras cut the rate of fatal red light running crashes in big cities by 21%.

Many Lyme disease patients are misdiagnosed

Some New Jersey residents might have Lyme disease and not even know it. According to medical professionals, the condition can mimic other conditions and be difficult to diagnose.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that almost 300,000 people contract Lyme disease, which is transmitted through tick bites, each year. Symptoms of the disease can include skin rashes, headaches, fatigue and fever, but some people don't present with these symptoms. The symptoms are also common to many other conditions, including the flu, making it easy for patients to believe they have something else. Finally, doctors must confirm that a tick bite occurred before they can conclusively diagnose Lyme disease, but some patients don't know or don't remember they've been bitten, slowing down the diagnosis process. If the disease is left untreated, patients can eventually suffer heart problems, issues with their nervous system and joint pain.

Experts warn about mistaken vasculitis diagnoses

When people in New Jersey go to a hospital or a doctor, they expect to receive an accurate diagnosis of their health conditions. However, they may face a surprisingly common likelihood of misdiagnosis in some cases. Vasculitis is a type of inflammation of the blood vessels, which can be dangerous at times. However, there are other conditions that can appear to resemble vasculitis, but the effective treatments for the inflammatory condition could actually lead to worsened health in these cases.

Experts are advising rheumatologists and other physicians to be careful when making vasculitis diagnoses in order to avoid potentially harmful medical mistakes as the result of an incorrect diagnosis. High-dose corticosteroids are some of the most common initial treatments for vasculitis. However, endocarditis often resembles vasculitis. One patient who was treated with steroids had a stroke and suffered permanent disabilities as a result. Blood cultures were not ordered before treatment was started, and the similar disease was missed. In addition, many adults develop vasculitis as a side effect of a drug, including both prescribed and recreational substances. This type of vasculitis can require different treatments than those cases that arise spontaneously.

Flaggers at high risk for roadway injury, death

Controlling traffic flow in work zones can be a dangerous occupation. Flaggers in New Jersey should know that there were 132 people who died in roadway work zones in 2017. They were all killed in car crashes, usually involving a driver who was speeding or being aggressive.

The Center for Construction Research and Training has provided some tips for flaggers so that they can remain safe in these zones. First of all, flaggers should wear high-visibility clothing. To protect themselves from adverse weather, they should wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants and hard hats, among other things. When working at night, it's wise to wear a reflective vest.

Top five hazards for construction workers in summer

Representatives of Honeywell Industrial Safety have laid out the five leading safety hazards for construction workers during the summer. Employees and employers alike in New Jersey will want to know what these are so that they can address them accordingly.

First is the danger of heat-induced fatigue. Fatigue can affect workers' judgment, concentration and reaction times. Second is heat-related illness, which includes conditions like heat rash and heat stroke. The solutions to both overlap. Employers should provide mandatory breaks in the shade and plenty of liquids. When jobs are physically demanding, supervisors should cycle workers in and out.

Surgeons' unprofessional behavior leads to patient complications

Studies have shown that surgeons whose behavior receives complaints from patients and their family are more likely to leave their patients with post-operative complications. A report published in JAMA Surgery has linked a higher risk of patient complications with surgeons who have received complaints from their co-workers. New Jersey residents should know that 20% to 30% of surgeons receive such complaints.

Researchers analyzed 202 surgeons and 13,653 patients, finding that 1,583 of the patients experienced a complication within 30 days after their operation. It turns out that the risk for developing a complication goes up the more reports have been filed against a surgeon. Among surgeons with one to three reports, it goes up an estimated 18%. With surgeons who had four or more complaints, it becomes 32%.

Coup and coup-contrecoup brain injuries

Emergency rooms in New Jersey and around the country treat several different types of serious brain injury. Coup injuries affect the part of the brain that was exposed to trauma while contrecoup injures are found opposite to the point of contact. The most serious brain injuries are what are known as coup-contrecoup injuries that affect both sides of the brain. Coup injuries are usually caused by an object striking the head while contrecoup injuries are most often suffered when a moving head strikes a wall, windshield or other stationary object.

While most coup-contrecoup injuries are suffered in accidents such as car crashes, they can also be caused by violent head movements. Babies sometimes suffer such injuries when they are shaken violently. Contrecoup and coup-contrecoup injuries occur when the brain moves and strikes the inside of the skull, but the reason this happens is not fully understood by medical science. It is known that inertia plays a role, and many neurologists believe that the movement of cerebrospinal fluid following head trauma is responsible.

Scientists discover form of dementia that mimics Alzheimer's

Scientists have discovered a form of dementia that mimics the symptoms of Alzheimer's but is in fact distinct from it. It is now clear that patients in New Jersey and across the U.S. may have been misdiagnosed as having Alzheimer's. The discovery also shows that many factors can contribute to dementia.

The newly defined dementia has been labeled as limbic-predominant age-related TDP-43 encephalopathy, or LATE dementia. Unlike Alzheimer's, this form of dementia is not caused by the buildup of beta-amyloid, the protein that hardens into plaque in the brain and kills neurons. Rather, a different protein called TDP-43, when misfolded, causes problems with memory and thinking. Misfolded TDP-43 is often associated with shrinkage of the hippocampus, the center of memory.

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